We love the companionship pets provide - and this sometimes extends to our sleeping routines. But you need to lay out ground rules if your pet is going to get into bed with you...

Having a pet sleeping on your bed - whether you’re a dog or a cat person - can provide comfort, safety and for many, a good night’s sleep.

But it’s not as harmonious as you’d like sometimes, with dogs taking up space, cats shedding hair and, well, let’s just say some animals aren’t as sweet smelling as freshly-washed sheets.

So we’ve come up with 5 rules you need to follow if you and your best friend are going to get a good night’s sleep.

Dog lying on a bed with a man and women

1. Change the bedding more often

While cats may be seen as clean animals, and your dog has just had its bath (whether it wanted it or not), letting your pet sleep in your bed means you’re going to have to change your sheets more often.

From hairs and dirt to fleas, animals can make a clean duvet dirty in just a couple of days.

If they have their favourite spot on the bed, try providing a blanket for them to sleep on to minimise contact with your bedding.

2. Not while they’re shedding

At certain times of the year some animals will shed more than usual. This usually happens as the summer arrives, as your pet gets rid of their winter coat. This can be a nightmare not just for your bedding but for the house in general.

Try and let them get outdoors more often as rolling around in the grass and running through bushes can help them remove some of the excess hair. If they insist of sleeping on your bed, comb their hair and try and remove as much as you can before bed.

3. Not with small children

Kids love pets and pets, usually, love kids. But if you’ve got babies that are co-sleeping with you make sure that your pets do not sleep in the same bed.

A large dog could easily roll over onto a baby and stop them from breathing.

4. Only when invited

It’s important that you’re in charge of your bedroom and you say whether the pet sleeps on the bed or not.

To help establish this relationship, only allow them on the bed when invited. Once you’re in bed, make them stay on the floor for 10 minutes.

They should also be calm before you allow them up. If they’re running around or trying to get on, keep them off. Once they’ve settled, let them up. And it should be just them – not them and their favourite toys.

Cat on a bed with a sleeping child

5. No bad behaviour

If your pet has passed the test and has been allowed on your bed, they should know it’s a place for sleeping only. Don’t engage with them in any form of play.

Stroking is fine but if they start to bite, scratch or push you off then they need to go on the floor. You need to be strict with them otherwise you face being woken up in the middle of the night with a dog pawing at your sheets with a ball in their mouth. 

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